A friend of mine and I recently started a ladies’ Bible study about marriage. One of the first things that we are going to talk about is our role as women in marriage. I’m so excited about sharing something that I have learned about Genesis 2:18, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him,’” (NASB).
Right in the very beginning of the Bible we learn that Eve was created to be a helper for Adam. Yep, a helper. Does that sound like a good role to you?
You might be thinking of your little child helping you sweep the floor or helping you fold towels and you call that precious little one “Mommy’s little helper” and you thank them, but all the time you’re thinking about how you could have swept the floor or folded the towels in half the time that you did with your helper. It’s no wonder that the word helper doesn’t seem so significant these days. Even in my children’s ministry I am careful to call those on my team “my team” and not “my helpers” because the word helper sounds so unimportant and I want my team to know that they are very important. In fact, there is no way that I could do the things that I do without them.
So what does the word helper mean anyway? Webster defines help as “to make things easier or better for; aid; assist.” The word helper didn’t get a written definition, except for the part of speech. It is a noun. But as I was looking for that word, I saw the word helpmeet, which some versions of Genesis 2:18 use, and this word means “helpmate,” which means “a helpful companion.
So now we know how we define helper, but how does God define the word? Can one who “makes things easier or better for” or is a “helpful companion” really be important?
The Hebrew word used for helper in Genesis 2:18 is actually quite a significant word. You see, most of the times that this same word is used in the Old Testament, it refers to God. This is one of my favorite verses, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth,” (Psalm 121:1-2). (Sorry about the “whence,” but I’m using my NASB version today.) Here’s another good verse, “You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord, He is their help and their shield,” (Psalm 115:11). We read in these verses and many others that God is our helper and I am very thankful for that. I know you are, too. So right away we see that our role as a wife as being a helper for our husband is very important. I mean, we all want God to be our helper, right? And we definitely need Him to be. God is not insignificant in our lives. He is very essential and important. Our husbands need us to be their helper, too. And it’s a very important role.
But that’s not all there is about this Hebrew word. This same word is also used in a military way. Before Moses died we read this Hebrew word three times in Deuteronomy 33 as he is blessing the people of Israel and encouraging them as they are about to go to the Promised Land. Look at these verses. ”And this regarding Judah; so he said, ‘Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him to his people. With his hands he contended for them; and mayest Thou be a help against his adversaries.’” (verse 7), “There is none like the God of Jeshurun. Who rides the heavens to your help, and through the skies in His majesty.” (verse 26), and “Blessed are you, O Israel; who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, who is the shield of your help. And the sword of your majesty! So your enemies shall cringe before you, and you shall tread upon their high places.” (verse 29). Moses uses this same Hebrew word for help knowing that the Israelites are about to go over to Jericho and face battles. As we read these verses we learn that our role of helper becomes even more significant.
Being a helper has way more meaning than we might think when we simply read that passage in Genesis 2:18 and start to feel rather unimportant. When you go back to Genesis 2 and read in verses 21-22 about how God took the rib out of Adam’s side to create Eve, we understand even more. You see, God took a rib out of Adam’s side. Not his head. Not his foot. Eve was not created to be superior to Adam and she was not created to be inferior to Adam. She was created from Adam’s side. They were equals. Adam was made first so he was to be the leader and Eve was to be the follower, but they were to be equals.
Did you know that being a helper could be so important? Now we know that the wife’s role as a helper is very significant. In fact, I can’t think of a higher calling for us as wives. We are to be our husband’s companions. We are to stand together as one and face the battles of life together, with God. Can you imagine what our world – or even just our own families – would be like today if we did stand together as one – as best friends – as equals, but allowing our husbands to lead – as we help them – as we face all those battles of life?
Here’s another thing that I like about the way that God made Eve to be Adam’s helper. God knew that it was not good for Adam to be alone. If you’re a teacher, then you know that guiding your students to discover what you want them to learn is a very effective way of teaching them. Being the amazing teacher that He is, God brings the animals to Adam and has Adam name them. Can you imagine Adam naming all those animals? Rooster and hen. Bull and cow. Buck and doe. Lion and lioness. You get the picture. Finally Adam is done and he looks around and discovers that there is no one for him. He is alone. So God steps in and creates exactly what Adam needs. Eve. His helper.
And you are exactly what your husband needs. His helper. And just like my ministry team and I can do things together – with God – that I could never do alone, you and your husband, together with God, will be able to stand together and do things that you could never do alone.
Do you think your husband feels alone today? Are you being his companion? Are you allowing him to be the leader in your home? How do you feel about your role as your husband’s helper? How can you make things easier or better for your husband today? Will you stand as one with your husband as equals and best friends as you face the battles of life together with the God who made you?
I want to be who God created me to be in my marriage so I feel very important when I say – just call me “helper.”